Wishing you a yucky yuletide

horrible Christmas cast

Jim Low (Rudolph), left, James Earle Adair (Sidney Claus), Mimi Edwards (Mother), Tom Gillies (Watson), Tom Jude (Father) and Erika Poole (Shirley Holmes). Pictures: Darren Bell 

Horrible Christmas

Birmingham Old Rep


BIRMINGHAM Stage Company’s festive show adapts Terry Deary’s Horrible Christmas for the stage.

And it is certainly horrible! When Watson Williams meets Santa Claus on the night before Christmas he expects to receive a sack load of presents.

Instead the man in red is actually Sydney Clause who is bent on ruining Christmas for everyone. He pockets poor Watson’s presents and then heads back in time to some key dates in yuletide history. At each one he is intent on wrecking Christmas for all future generations.

En route he meets Charles Dickens suffering from writer’s block, Charles II fearing his head may end up on the same block which beheaded his father and Henry VIII, who is just a blockhead!

This is very much a children’s show king charles IIwith lots of silly jokes, some madcap running around, a song for the audience to join in and lots of opportunities for the audience to shout out.

It picks up the lessons of panto, oh yes it does, but also packs in lots of education. Some of this resonates more with the adults than the children, many of whom had no idea who the puritans were and didn’t really get many of the Charles II jokes.

Erika Poole (Shirley Holmes) Tom Jude (King Charles ll) Tom Gillies (Watson)

The cast prove themselves to be highly versatile. Tom Gillies is Watson, whose rather strange name becomes clear when he is called upon to investigate Sydney Clause by none other than Shirley Holmes. Elementary my dear Watson.

James Earl Adair is suitably nasty as Sydney Clause - cue lots of boos each time he comes on stage. His sidekick Rudolph, played by Jim Low, is a simple creature, easily led astray – and then back to the narrow path.

Erika Poole is the chuckling Holmes who is determined to follow Clause no matter which century or country he heads off to.

Special credit goes to Tom Jude and Mimi Edwards who take the majority of the other characters switching from serving maid to Turkish maiden or Charles II to Henry VIII in minutes.

Staged at Birmingham’s Old Rep Theatre, Horrible Christmas is lots of fun and keeps up a merry pace. Watching it in November feels just a little early – this is definitely a show for Christmas. To 17-11-14.

Diane Parkes



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